H E R M E N E U T I C C H A O S J O U R N A L
A woman lived on a lake with her crippled father and a brother who liked to burn trash. The father’s left leg was missing from the knee down. He covered the stump when he left the house but at home its scar shone bright and smooth.
Every evening, the brother started a fire on the shore. He stacked wood and slats from a crumbling shed in the backyard, and struck a match. He added torn shirts, empty cereal boxes, and broken appliances. He added gasoline to make the fire burn brighter and higher.
The woman washed her father’s scar. She watched the fire on the shore. There had once been a grandmother who diverted the brother from burning trash and taught the father to tend his scar. The grandmother no longer lived in the house or in the world. Every morning the fire on the shoreline smoldered.
Julie Brooks Barbour is the author of Small Chimes (Aldrich Press, 2014) and two chapbooks: Earth Lust (Finishing Line Press, 2014) and Come To Me and Drink (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Her poems have appeared in Waccamaw, Four Way Review, diode, storySouth, Prime Number Magazine, burntdistrict, The Rumpus, Midwestern Gothic, Blue Lyra Review, and Verse Daily. She is co-editor of the journal Border Crossing and an Associate Poetry Editor at Connotation Press: An Online Artifact. She teaches composition and creative writing at Lake Superior State University. Visit her online at juliebrooksbarbour.com.
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